You’ve heard of it, but exactly how does Invisalign work and can it work for you?

There’s nothing that quite exudes confidence and instils a little self-love like a stunning smile. You have arrived at the right destination to see how Invisalign works and what it can do for you. 

Thanks to Invisalign treatment, or invisible braces, smile correction can be done with little disruption to your life. For most patients, Invisalign has many advantages over traditional metal braces.

You can eat all the foods you enjoy, brush and floss the same way you always would, and smile just as widely as ever while Invisalign gets to work straightening out your pearly whites.

However, having properly aligned teeth isn’t just about that dashing smile. It also reduces your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

To answer the question, “how does Invisalign work?” we need to first discuss the difference between the invisible braces and their traditional metal counterparts.

How Does Invisalign Differ from Traditional Braces?

In most cases Invisalign treatment is just as effective for straightening your teeth as traditional metal braces. However, the invisible braces approach is ideal for social and active lifestyles, particularly among adults and self-conscious teens.

The clear plastic aligners are almost completely invisible, so very few people will notice you’re wearing them.

Virtually invisible, Invisalign is perfect for adults and teens who would rather avoid more obvious braces

Unlike traditional braces, you can remove the trays to brush and floss your teeth without worrying about the issue of trapped food that sometimes occurs with metal braces.

Traditional braces use metal and wires that may irritate the inside of people’s cheeks. Invisalign is made of a smooth plastic that is comfortable for extended wear.

So, Exactly How Does Invisalign Work?

The Invisalign process is not significantly dissimilar to getting metal braces.

The first step is to get an examination from your orthodontist. During the exam, the orthodontist will decide if you are a good candidate for treatment.

What Happens If You’re a Candidate?

If you’re a good candidate for Invisalign, the orthodontist will take records, including photos of your face and teeth. X-rays and scan of your mouth will also be arranged.

The records are then sent to Invisalign where a 3D model of your teeth is created.  Your orthodontist will design your personalised treatment plan and then order your trays.

When you receive your trays, called aligners, you will need to wear each one for a week or two at a time. Your teeth in each tray are a little straighter than your last Invisalign tray. On average, teeth move about 1/10mm with each tray.

The difference between your current alignment and the slightly different impression of your teeth in your new aligner puts pressure on your teeth. Over the week (or two) course of wearing the tray, your teeth will begin to move to match that tray.

You May Have to Use a Few Attachments

Some people may need to use attachments on their teeth. These are small bumps of plastic material that are the same color as your teeth. They provide a gripping point for your aligner to easily grip into place and remain there. They also help to place pressure on your teeth to help straighten them.  They put pressure on certain parts of your teeth to help the aligners move the teeth up, down, side to side and around.

Some people might have to wear rubber bands with their aligners, similar to metal braces. The bands may to put extra pressure on certain teeth and/or to correct your bite.

How Long Do You Have to Wear the Aligners?

One of the big benefits of the Invisalign system is that you can remove the aligners to eat, drink, brush and floss. They’re easy enough to clean, too, with your toothbrush. So, you should wear the aligners for approximately 22 hours a day to allow your teeth the chance to move to their final, straighter position.

The average adult’s treatment time is as little as 6 months or up to around twelve months. But, times can vary depending on the severity of your case. Your orthodontist will work closely with you to come up with an individual treatment plan for your needs.

What Happens After the Final Trays?

When you are done wearing the final trays, you will receive retainers. Usually these plastic retainers look similar to Invisalign trays.


The purpose of the retainer is to help keep your newly-aligned teeth in place.

You may need to wear the retainer for a period of 6 weeks on a full-time basis. You can then cut back to wearing it just while you sleep.  Eventually – and only if supervised and advised by your orthodontist – you may be able to wear it only one or two nights a week.

The important thing to remember is that you need to look after your trays. An article in the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics reports that researchers discovered that some patients drink (other than water) while their aligners are still in. This traps sugars in your mouth, which in turn feed decay-causing bacteria. You need to remove the trays when eating and drinking to avoid trapping sugars and allow saliva to act as your natural tooth cleaning system in order to promote good oral health.

What Can Invisalign Fix?

Invisalign can correct a number of problems, like:

  •    Crowded teeth
  •    Gapped teeth
  •    Underbites
  •    Overbites

These problems aren’t just confidence-killers, that can cause or worsen periodontal disease. What’s more, underbites and overbites cause stress on your jaw, which can lead to painful problems with your joints.

If you have especially crowded teeth, there is an increased risk of plaque accumulating; it’s hard to floss properly, and cavities can form.

What’s One of the Biggest Benefits of Invisalign?

We’ve answered the question, “how does Invisalign work?” So, let’s discuss a couple of great benefits.

Invisalign doesn’t interfere with your life! You can take your trays out in the morning and evening and brush them with a toothbrush.

Unlike traditional braces, with Invisalign you are still able to easily eat hard or sticky foods

You can take the trays out when you eat, too, so you don’t have to miss out on your favorite foods.

Best of all, the trays keep your teeth cleaner than traditional braces would, as you get to continue brushing and flossing as normal.

Is Invisalign for You?

If you lead a social lifestyle, play contact sports, or are just self-conscious about your smile, Invisalign may be an excellent option for you.

This is a treatment that is low on maintenance, big on results, and fast on effectiveness.

To determine if you are a candidate for Invisalign treatment and how Invisalign works in more detail, book a consultation at Fine Orthodontics today.

(Image: Flickr)